Dell Builds New Linux Network Operating System

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Dell has updated its networking portfolio with new campus switching gear just before the annual Dell World conference starts.

The new Dell Networking N-series includes new silicon, hardware chassis and a new Linux-based operating system. The new switches include the N2000 and N3000, both 1 GbE switches with 10 GbE uplinks. Dell’s refreshed campus portfolio competes in a highly competitive space dominated by Cisco, with HP and Juniper also pushing hard for market share.

The N2000 and the N3000 series include both 24- and 48-port configurations, with the N2000 operating as a dell n-seriesLayer 2 device and the N3000 operating at Layer 3.

The N4000 is a 10 GbE switch with 40 GbE uplinks and also has both 24- and 48-port configurations available.

Arpit Joshipura, VP at Dell Networking, explained the new Linux-powered operating system that the N-series includes.

“We took all the features that are relevant to the campus LAN and ported data center FTOS features as well,” Joshipura said.

FTOS is the Force10 operating system that powers much of Dell Networking’s portfolio today. Dell acquired Force10 in 2011 and has been growing out the solution set ever since.

Joshipura said that Dell is not branding its new Linux-powered networking operating system on the N-series at this time. He stressed, however, that from a management perspective, Dell’s networking solutions can all be managed seamlessly whether or not the system is Linux or FTOS.

“The kernel is Linux, but that doesn’t show up from an operations perspective,” Joshipura said. “What it provides is the openness, reliability and programmability that Linux brings.”

The Command Line Interface (CLI) that Dell Networking has is now standardized across the entire portfolio, enabling a similar management experience.


Dell is also revamping its C-Series of switches, which had originally come to Dell from Force10.

The C-Series is now being refreshed, adding new 10 GbE and 40 GbE line cards as well as support for Power over Ethernet (PoE). The new chassis includes the 9-RU C7004 and the 13-RU C7008, which can deliver up to 1.536 TB of performance.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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